A/N – To help with any confusion I decided to put a little reminder in the start of this chapter. While Destiny has accepted her birth name and won’t be going by Anna anymore Connor is still very much Holtz son for the moment and still thinks of himself as Steven. So anytime you read the name Steven it’s really Connor. Hope that helps.
“Tacos?” According to Angelus this woman had also been sentenced to years in a hellish dimension that was not her home world, so at his suggestion the two of them had begun to talk about the important things of this dimension that may be different from the one she came from.
“Yes! Tacos are the most important thing in this universe. Okay, maybe not the most important but they definitely rank right up there with oxygen, clothes, money, and partical physics. Except with tacos they also taste yummy. Would you like to try one?” At the end of her little ramble the tiny little woman held out a silver lump towards her as though it were the most valued of her possessions, not wanting to offend the woman who was fast becoming a friend she took it.
Looking into the womans expectant face she voiced her question meekly, trying not to appear ungrateful of the offering.
“This is food?” The question made the girls already expressive eyes light up with wonder.
“Oh, yes, it’s the best food there is.” Looking down at it once more she shrugged, she had asked for food and if this was truly the best this world had to offer her for sustenance than she would make do and eventually adapt as she always had before.
Bringing the unappetizing looking mass towards her mouth she was about to bite down when a hand shot out and stopped her.
“Oh, no honey, you see what Fred here has apparently forgotten to mention is that it’s in a wrapper. You have to peal the silver part off first and then you can eat it. Trust me it tastes much better without the paper coating.” Cordelia had also become something of a friend, though she was still leery of them all she was determined to give them a chance, for now at least.
“Sorry! I am so sorry! I just assumed, since I had grown up here … or rather in this dimension since I grew up in Texas and not California, so when I came back from Pylea even though it was all a bit different I still remembered most of the basics like wrappers and things, I shoulda remembered to tell you about that part since you know you ain’t been here since you were a ba-by.” For some reason the last part of her little ramble caused her to look away in guilt and self-recrimination. She also noticed that Cordelia shot her a look of concern, almost as though they both thought that the mention to her old life, the one she should have lived, would put her in a foul mood.
She was just about to correct them as she continued to unfold her “food”, she was still not certain about his so called “taco”, when her father finally returned with the rest of his clan.
“Destiny… or would you prefer Anna?”
“Destiny’s fine.” No need to confuse everyone, she’d already decided to keep Destiny as her new name, so they may as well use it now.
“Well, Destiny, these are my friends. You’ve already met Fred and Cordelia, and these are the ones you haven’t met yet. Charles Gunn and Lorne Greene.” She nodded to both as she took her first bite of the “taco” and froze when the flavors invaded her senses. The meat was of a strange texture and far more tender than she was used too, the spices and other bits and pieces mixed with it were in turn cold or warm and seemed to not be able to choose a flavor to be, each section having a unique taste all its own and the skin which encased it all was crunchy as though it were bone only it tasted even stranger than the rest and gave way far too easily to truly be a part of a carcass.
“Didn’t I tell you tacos were the best?” Not wanting to hurt the womans feeling by spitting out the meal she had been given she forced herself to swallow and answer as honestly as she could.
“They are certainly different.”
Angel watched his daughter take her first bite of food and had to fight not to laugh, it was obvious that the different spices and flavors of mexican food had taken her by surprise. He personally would have chosen something slightly more, bland, as a first meal before slowly working in the different spices but he wasn’t going to complain if she wasn’t. When Fred seemed satisfied with the vague answer she got in response to her statement about the god like quality of her favorite food he moved on to why they were here.
“Destiny, you said before that you had questions about our world.”
“Yes,” pushing the taco away for now and hoping no one would notice and force her to eat more of it she decided to start at the beginning, “but before we get to the questions about this world in general I have a few about you personally if that is alright with you.”
“Of course, you can ask me anything.”
“Why didn’t you kill Steven when you had the chance? I was here when the two of you fought and you had a clear path to his jugular, why didn’t you take it? Everything I know about you says that you are a cold blooded monster who kills anyone and everyone indiscriminately, why did you spare him?”
Angel saw his friends stiffen in surprise at her blunt question, but he had expected it. They had been raised by his enemy after all, and from what Connor had said about him he doubted there had ever been any mention of his good deeds over the past century or so, she had every right to be curious. She had grown up on stories of the great and horrible Angelus only to one day meet Angel, confusion was to be expected.
“Well, that is a fairly long story, but I’ll do my best to answer you as honestly and completely as I can. I guess I should start by telling you that my name is not Angelus, at least not anymore, these days I go by Angel. About a hundred years ago in 1898, in the days when I was still the monster I’m sure you’ve heard about, I attacked and killed a Gypsy girl the favored daughter of her clan. When her people learned about what I had done to her, and what I had done to so many before her, they cursed me. They restored by soul, gave me back my conscience and my guilt, all the emotions I had lost as a demon were forced back into me. I no longer kill humans, and it takes a good reason for me to even kill demons, I am for lack of a better word reformed.”
Angel simply stood there in silence waiting for his daughter to either believe him or reject him. He barely heard his friends all chiming in with their own assurances that he was now a force for good, some with stories and others with only earnest honesty and the weight of their word behind the statement. He watched her absorb everything she was being told and waited for her to make the next move, no matter what she decided to do he would not rush her, not now, not ever. She would come to accept him on her own terms, and hopefully so would Connor.
Destiny didn’t know if she really believed everything these people told her, Angelus as a force for good and protector of innocents was a little hard to wrap her mind around after all, but she decided to give them the benefit of the doubt for the time being. She wouldn’t let her guard down around them just yet, but she would trust that they were being truthful with her, and precede as though everything they told her so far was fact. Angelus – Angel had admitted to his past of violence and death without hesitation so maybe what he said about his life now was true as well.
“Okay, I believe you, for now. That’s enough on the past for the moment, time to move on to the present. Main concern first then we can move on to other questions. What is money and how do I get some?”
Everyone around her began to chuckle and she recognized it for the relief that it was. They hadn’t thought she would take their word for her fathers character and were relieved that she had. She supposed though, that a man so surrounded by so many good hearted people had to at least have some good in him somewhere.
Steven made his way towards the waterfront where his father had told him to go on the second night after arriving in the hellish place. He hated it here, everything was confusing and far too loud and he wasn’t allowed to kill the things that annoyed him. If Anna had stayed by his side he knew he would have been in a better mood about things, but as his father had always warned him, Anna’s bad blood had won out. She had chosen to side with Angelus.
He just didn’t understand it, no matter how bad things had gotten with her problems in the past he had always been certain that she would have his back when he needed her, now not even a full day after meeting that monster and that foundation was rocked and he was truly alone for the first time in his life.
No! He would not allow it! He would find a way to help his sister fight the darkness in her soul, that part of her that so connected with Angelus, and they would be together again. He loved his family too much to see it so fractured, he would not allow Angelus to win, he would see them all made whole again. Hearing the popping sound of a portal opening behind him he rose and moved to greet his father and to tell him the sad news about his dear sister Anna.
Destiny moved through the streets of downtown Los Angeles and thought on everything she had learned from Angel and his friends. At the end of their little talk they had offered her room at the Hyperion where they stayed but she had declined, not feeling safe sleeping around them just yet. When it became clear that she would not be staying Angel had given her two hundred dollars and told her to be careful, that their doors were always open to her if she needed them for anything. Right now all she needed though was food, she was starving. She had managed to choke down two of those tacos but that had only fed her hunger a little, now that she had the time she could feed the rest on her own. Looking up at the sign over the club Trapt, not really a name she would have gone for but the name wasn’t really what mattered she guessed.
Getting in was the easy part, it was finding what she needed that really put her on edge, she had never done this here before, she only hoped that everything worked the same in this dimension. Slowly circling the room just beyond the dance floor she watched all the people swaying and grinding to the beat of the music and tried to decide who to choose, male or female? Did it really matter? Much like the name of the club the gender of the person she chose was really more of an insignificant detail than a truly deciding factor. Spotting a girl standing alone in the corner, looking very much lost and out of place, she knew she had her volunteer.
Striking up a conversation with her was easy, the girl was beyond happy to have someone, hell anyone, to talk to. Apparently coming to this club had been a friends idea, and she had only tagged along to be supportive of her friends “alternative life choice”. It was even easier getting the girl to agree to move even deeper into the shadows away from prying eyes, she simply had to suggest that they move back to find somewhere that they didn’t have to shout to be heard over the steady thump of the music. Now it was time for the true test of her abilities, if everything worked the same here as it did in the other world then everything would go smoothly and no one would be hurt at all. Looking deeply into the other girls eyes she felt her own begin to dilate as she captured the girl attention fully.
“You’re going to be alright, you aren’t going to make a sound, this won’t hurt you at all.” She waited a moment for the girl to parrot the suggestions back to her signaling that it had worked.
“I’m going to be alright, I won’t make a sound, this won’t hurt at all.” Good.
Fully in control she felt her face begin to change as her fangs became more prominent and she leaned in towards the girls neck, finally going to be free of this hunger. Food could only do so much, what she really needed was blood.
The sound of someone clearing their throat behind her made her whirl around, her “game face” fully on display and the girls blood dripping down her chin.
“Wow, scary. Has anyone every told you how beautiful you are when you feed?” The man said before his own face morphed and his yellow eyes sparkled at her with amusement, “Feel like sharing?”